We (meaning our smart uncle) did the math one day to figure out how many pickup truck loads of manure we needed to haul in for the garden. The grand total? Upwards of 1,200. Now don't get me wrong, shoveling horse sh*t is great fun and all, but that number was a little daunting and I had a moment of doubt. Some of those loads of manure could be lifted into the truck if our friend's bobcat was available. But each load needs to be manually shoveled out of the truck once it arrives as the garden. We're young and spry and whatnot, but we work all week and do this stuff on the weekends. We have our limits. And you only get one back and set of shoulders per lifetime. Our mode of operation started seeming pretty impractical. Math don't lie*, so I started thinking.
Then we watched Fresh and saw the impressive work Will Allen does at Growing Power (which we blogged about here). He uses waste from local coffee houses, breweries, restaurants, etc. and composts it with worms.
We needed organic matter that was easier to come by. Lo and behold, an idea: partnering up with restaurants in our neighborhood for a steady stream of compostable kitchen scraps. We can pick up the bins of veggie matter on our way from Northeast Minneapolis to the farm site.
NPR recently published an article titled For Restaurants, Food Waste Is Seen as a Low Priority. In Minneapolis, this does not seem to be the case. I got on the phone and in twenty minutes found out almost any place in Northeast worth eating at already composts, mostly through a local waste management company. Bravo! However, a chef/owner I spoke with saw our need as a great opportunity to form a relationship. We now have a wonderful composting partnership with Gardens of Salonica.
These folks are real gems. The food they make is fantastic. I especially recommend the gyro. And the compostables they give us smell so good it's tempting to eat some of them... I kid, I kid! Kind of...
*The said math, just for kicks and grins
1/3 acre (14,520 sq. ft) covered 4" deep in manure = 58,080 cubic feet.
Truck bed carries 48 cubic feet of matter, so we'd need to make the trip 1,210 times.
If anyone finds these figures to be flawed, feel free to become our math consultant!